Beyond the Textbook Forum Attendees: Weird.


I’m assuming if the good people at Discovery read this, I’ll be banned from corporate headquarters.They Put Up a Sign to Welcome Me.  I Thought That Was Nice.

That would be bad.

But, it would be neat to walk in, only to be wrestled to the ground by a gang of security guards (I don’t know how many they would need, but I’m guessing 7… I’ve been working out).

Plus, it wouldn’t be the first place where I’ve been uninvited.

And what are the odds they would invite me back anyway?

The Textbook Techbook Forum was interesting.

Interesting to say the least.

I got to meet an amazing group of people who are quite famous in the education/technology world (still not sure why I was there… they must have needed a token Superintendent).

If you read blogs, tweet, or stalk this kind of educator, you would have been impressed by the lineup.

Dembo.  Jakes.  Warlick.  Whitby.  Becker.  Sheninger.  Couros.  Laufenberg.  Maiers.

And the Godfather.  Shareski.

Why is he the Godfather?  Because he is.  You don’t get to question why.

It was a Who’s Who of famous educators.

And I discovered something (get it… discovered?).

They are weird.

Every last one of them.

Really weird.

What kind of person is obsessed with the education issues of the day?

Technology.  Curriculum.  Teaching styles.  Textbooks.

Who are these people and why don’t they get hobbies?  Maybe they should take a walk or something.

I would like to think they attended the forum for the free trip.  Maybe even to raise their profile in the Twitter universe?

For all I know, nuzzling up to the people who brought us American Choppers and Shark Week raises their fee for presenting on various educational topics.

But I don’t think any of this is true.

I think they are just weird enough that they were there in the hope of helping provide students and teachers a better textbook (techbook) for 2012 and beyond.

Told you they were weird.

The good kind of weird.

Top 3 Questions I get when I attend these types of events:  1.  Why don’t I attend these types of events more often?  2.  Are you going to make fun of me in your blog?  3.  How’s Buddy the Dog?

Answers:  1.  I like my house.  2.  Yes.  3.  He’s great.  He’s Buddy the Dog.

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A Flight, a Free Trip, Discovery Education, and Food Posioning. It Was a Very Busy Day.


The superintendent’s life can be a busy one.Discovery and Shark Week.

But I know it’s the same for principals, teachers, secretaries, custodians, parents, students, and Buddy the Dog.

Well, not Buddy.  He’s not that busy.  Unless you count 17 hour naps  as busy (I’m so sick of holding a mirror under his snout to see if he’s still breathing).

Everyone is busy, so I’m not complaining.

But lately, I have been unusually busy.

School.  The Evil Spawn’s athletic career (I use athletic… and career… loosely).

This week I added to my troubles by throwing in a one-day trip to Discovery Education in Washington, D.C.

One-day and trip should never be used in the same sentence (and I just did it twice… idiot!!).

I really didn’t have time, but I knew I needed to make the time.  After all, it’s Washington D.C. (you can never turn down a free trip to your nation’s capital… unless you are a communist… and if you are… I’m not judging).

The trip was good.  Not great.

Blog sarcasm karma reached up and slapped me in the face.  Again.

When will I ever learn?

Note to self:  Don’t write a blog about what type of person you don’t want to sit next to on a flight because karma will mock you by sitting someone worse next to you the very next day.

I get on the plane.  Take my window seat (which is an opportunity to be the first one to notice an engine is on fire).

And then it happens.  Nope, not a lady with a baby (that’s a different blog),

Worse.

A young strong woman (freakishly strong) sits down and announces "I’m the worst flyer you’ve ever met.  I apologize in advance for screaming and I’ll probably grab you at some point".

Well, thanks for the warning.  And for cranking up my stress level because people with brand new vasectomies always hope to be grabbed by perfect strangers on a plane.

Here’s a sentence you almost never hear people say… "I wish I had MORE swelling!"

The worst part?  She screamed so loud on take off there was no way anyone was going to hear me crying like a little girl when she grabbed my man parts like a grocery bag.

Let’s just say, it was a long flight.

But it got worse.

The airline "misplaced" my luggage.  Which I’m told (by them) is better than "losing" it.

I should have known there was going to be trouble.  It’s never a good sign when you get off the plane on the middle of the tarmac.

The good news is they "found" my luggage.

Since I arrived at the hotel late, I got to eat dinner by myself in their ridiculously high-priced restaurant.

Who pays $14 for a hamburger?

After dinner, I retired to my hotel room to get a good night’s rest before going over to Discovery Corporate Headquarters.

I was excited.

And cramping.

You see, the $14 hamburger turned on me.

It’s 1:00 am.  I’m in Washington by myself.  And I’m face down in the bathroom eating tile.

I thought I was dying.  At one point I was hoping I was dying.

I just knew I was leaving this world like Elvis.

How sad.  A small school superintendent found alone in a hotel in a compromising position.

People were bound to talk.

I didn’t care.

Just stop the cramping.

Luckily, I eventually fell asleep.  In bed, as far as you know.

I got up and felt like a million bucks.  Food poisoning evidently doesn’t last long on the East Coast.

Maybe it’s the time change.

I made my way to Discovey and had a wonderful time.

But that’s another blog.

I’ll get to the Techbook Discovery people.  I promise.

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Swine Flu. Just When Schools Thought They Had Heard of Everything.


Common Sense.

You may not have heard, but there seems to be a problem with Swine Flu. It hasn’t really been covered by the news media, so don’t feel badly if you’ve missed it (this is a little thing I like to call sarcasm).

The way it has been explained to me, it could be a pandemic.

I am not sure what a pandemic means, but it sure sounds scary.

There must not be anything else newsworthy at this time of year in order for this story to become so big.

While I don’t want to take this situation lightly, I have grown up in the generation that has been beset by the end of the world on at least 20 different occasions.

The Cold War. Shark attacks. Hurricanes. Fires. Wars. Cigarettes. Y2K. Bird flu. Terrorists. O.J. Anthrax. Planes crashing into stuff. The Unabomber. Global warming. Banks. Weapons of Mass Destruction. Pirates. Drug cartels. Sarah Palin. Gangs taking over schools. Paris Hilton. Michael Jackson and that creepy monkey (or creepy Michael Jackson and that monkey).

There has been a chance all of these could affect me directly and in some cases deliver my untimely death. I was especially concerned about bumping into O.J. at a golf course.

On top of that, the good people at the National Weather Service now tell me a tornado or some sort of storm is going to attack me.

Every 15 minutes. Right in the middle of my favorite TV show.

I have become numb.

As usual the focus of health and safety is dropped directly in the lap of public schools.

The government in all their wisdom (again… for the uninitiated, this is called sarcasm), has recommended that public schools be shut down for at least 14 days if there is a suspicion that a student has a headache, bellyache, or the sniffles that were contrived from a pig.

Easy enough. Students seldom complain about not feeling well while they are at school. Shouldn’t be too hard to tell if a child has picked up the flu from a farm animal.

President Obama might have been more helpful if he had insisted, during his speech, that all schools should clean (w/ bleach) all desks, door handles, bathrooms, etc. each and every night. No exceptions.

Put us all on notice.

To me, this is a better plan of action than just saying this new flu strain is “bad” and we should be careful.

And we need to remember to wash our hands.

Closing schools or even talking about it should be a last resort.

In these difficult economic times, asking parents (especially single parents) to find and pay for extra day care for up to two weeks is a huge burden.

I am not saying that we shouldn’t take the Swine Flu seriously, because we should.

But taking students from schools and putting them around other kids in day care doesn’t really seem like progress to me.

I wonder if our country’s efforts to educate people through the media crosses the line, and we end up just scaring ourselves.

And our children. And older people.

There are so many other issues that don’t seem to qualify as “breaking news”. Most have been on our radar for years and unfortunately don’t have a catchy name like Swine Flu (it should be noted flu is so much scarier when it comes from an animal… I am dreading the Dog Flu next winter because all Buddy the Dog wants to do is lick me and nap).

In 2008, the following are numbers of people predicted to die from each disease or event (yes, I did actual research for this blog… please don’t come to expect this type of extra effort in the future… information taken from the Disease Control and Prevention Database).

In the United States 307,655 people would die of cancer.

7,258 of skin cancer. 21,289 of colon cancer. 26,987 of prostate cancer.

Oh, it gets better. Or worse if it happens to you. Especially if you were one of the 12,372 people who were murdered.

57 people perished by falling off a cliff. 1 person “bit” it by a shark attack. 40 were killed when struck by lightning.

4,624 died in a motorcycle accident. 1,062 unfortunately fell down steps, and didn’t get up.

8,432 passed away from HIV/AIDS. Remember when this was the “breaking story”? Now old news.

It’s not as exciting to report on anymore. But people are still sick.

It goes on and on. 7 died from an incident with sports equipment. 1,737 in a fire. 2 got it when their idiot doctor left something in them during surgery.

28 in an earthquake, avalanche, or landslide.

55,105 had a stroke from which they didn’t recover.

43 got stung by a bee and didn’t recover.

My point here… research is exhausting. And it is evidently not safe to leave your house, play sports, or have surgery.

Americans get sick, hurt, and die from lots of things. What we shouldn’t do is scare children needlessly and close schools because it makes people feel better temporarily.

Schools certainly have to do their part, but why are we the only ones being mentioned that need to help slow down the pandemic.

What about malls? And churches? And businesses, factories, colleges, the Kentucky Derby, NASCAR, Major League Baseball games, the NBA playoffs and even CNN?

I wouldn’t be surprised if more people work in the CNN building in Atlanta than there are children attending school in the 5 closest counties to me.

Any chance they will close? Didn’t think so.

Can’t we be proactive with our safety and still use good judgment?

I think the only thing that won’t recover from this latest drama is our common sense as a country.

It may be dead forever.

Please remember to cover your mouth when you cough, wash your hands, and stay at home if you are sick.

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While this site operates with the knowledge and awareness of the Tuscola CUSD #301 School Board, Tuscola, Illinois, the content and opinions posted here may or may not represent their views personally or collectively, nor does it attempt to represent the official viewpoint of Tuscola CUSD #301 administrators or employees.